Sadanand Dhume in his recent article (Read it here) argues that “opposing her for her Italian origins” is misguided. He presents three supportive arguments – (1) she lived in India for longer than many Indians (2) India bases citizenship on soil and not blood (3) Indians do not care about this issue.
BarbarIndian rightly mocks the statement that she is more Indian than most Indians (http://storify.com/barbarindian/why-sonia-gandhi-is-more-indian-than-most-indians).
We seek to refute Sadanand’s arguments –
- How long you lived in India is not a determinant of how Indian you are.
- That India bases citizenship on soil the way he presents is not fully valid – if it was, she would be India’s PM by now.
- Whether people think so or not is also irrelevant to whether she is “more Indian” than others. Democracy goes by public opinion and not by truth.
But a simple refutation hardly servers a purpose, we need to understand the premise of being an Indian and having an Indian origin.
In fact Sadanand oversimplifies the whole matter and misses the core issues. To live in India or to win the hearts of people, it is not necessary that you are born here – as examples like Sister Nivedita, Annie Besant etc demonstrate. They have understood India’s heart and her needs better than many Indians do today – whether or not they lived longer than most Indians. Still, if they ran for ruling India, their candidature would be doubtful – because it is not enough if you understand India or you are simply “more Indian” by spending a number of years.
In contrast, Sonia Gandhi did not evolve as an Indian citizen by living in India and mingling with Indians. She became an Indian by accident, through marriage into India’s ruling clan and ever since confined herself to the power bubble. She never expressed her understanding of India, her will to feel the heart of India. Every single decision she made as head of congress demonstrates her will to foist un-Indian set of values on India. Whether she is inimical to India by her choice or not is not something decided by public mandate. Public mandate only determines opinion, not truth. And given the control congress wields over media and public discourse it is not surprising public opinion is manipulated in favour of congress interests. To know the truth you need to read the pattern of decisions and her motivations, the people she seeks to trust, the manipulations she does with ministries and intelligence, her attempts in subversion of the country’s heart – the Hindu thought.
More importantly, the question of origin is not limited to one’s understanding or loyalty. There is one level of understanding that an adult by choice cultivates, and there is one understanding that develops with a natural bond – which never existed between Sonia and India. The teenager soldier, who fights to defend the country and even gives up his life, does not happen to live in the land longer than Aurangzeb did or Sonia did. The hundreds of thousands of young men who died defending this society would live on the land no longer than Sonia does. The claim that living longer in this land makes her more Indian is a poor argument and even an outright false claim. A teenager in India understands India’s social mores better than Sonia, for the same reason – the natural social bond.
There can be one objection to this argument, that most of these problems (being inimical to Hindu interests, not being transparent etc) can be seen even in Indian citizens like Nehru and not merely a foreigner like Sonia. How is it determined whether Sonia example is like an Indian ignoramus like Nehru or a foreign ruler like British? Here also, the origin argument matters. All said and done, Nehru’s natural bond puts him in a different bucket from Sonia – all his ego and nepotism notwithstanding, he happens to be a freedom fighter, while the latter is emerging as a threat to the freedom. Nehru’s fancy for the west notwithstanding, he happens to have appointed Niyogi commission in wake of Hindu concerns.
Even YSR the late CM of Andhra Pradesh, a much criticized man for supporting aggressive Christian activity in AP, took correctives when Hindus protested the Christian attempts harming their shrine Tirumala. In stark contrast Sonia happens to only make her subversion program more aggressive by the day. This is the significance of the natural bond, which can show you the difference between the most benevolent foreigner and the worst native ruler with alienated worldview. There is no blood or soil dichotomy in strict terms, the rationale of origin argument is in this natural bond which transcends both.
Part of the reason is India is unlike the countries that have the state define things and not people’s minds. Citizenship in itself has a lot of importance in US for instance, because there is not much otherwise which can act as a differentiator in terms of identity. Hindu society in India does not have that problem, and its sense of identity does not depend on state constructs – it depends on how much you bond with the society and sense its mores and instincts. And that is hard for someone whose origin is outside India.
Even Hinduphiles outside India such as KoenraadElst, while their scholarship and objectiveness makes them understand it much better than many Indians, fall short at that first hand natural bond – and hence make very relevant observations at the political level but not at social level. Still, Contrary to US where an Indian rarely becomes a senator, India in spite of not having significant Italian citizenship could accept an erstwhile Italian not merely as a member of parliament but as a president of a political party with national presence and a policy advisory like NAC.
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